Okra -‘Okro’- is a typical Sierra Leonean, Krio dish. We prefer to eat it with fufu or gari but that is harder to get in some places.
The recipe below is my adaptation based on available ingredients. So instead of gari or fufu I made with brown rice. I also made it vegetarian since I was out of meat and too lazy to head to Whole Foods. Typical meat accompaniments are beef and dried/smoked fish. To do the ‘regular’ version just cook the meat first with a tablespoon of oil, salt and cayenne pepper, then proceed with the recipe. Add shredded smoked white fish near the end.
- 2 pounds okra – sliced with the tops removed
- 3 large onions
- 2 inches of ginger root
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 small thai chili pepper
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 teaspoons of thyme
- 2 bouillon cubes or 3 teaspoons of bouillon paste
- 3-4 cups water
- 1/2 cup palm oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups rice with 4 cups water
- Optional: 6 cloves, or 4 cloves of garlic as an aromatic for your rice.
- 1 large pot
- 1 medium sized bowl for sliced okra
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 teaspoon measure
- 1 chef’s knife
INSTRUCTIONS FOR OKRA
- Dice the onions and ginger and add to large pot with coconut oil – sauté onions until translucent on medium high heat with pot covered.
- Once translucent add the bullion cube. Remember to stir, the objective is to caramelize the onions so a) it will take time b) it will stick to the bottom of the pot.
- After 15 minutes add the diced tomatoes, chili, salt, black and white pepper and thyme, stir. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste. You want the paste to fry, so my trick is to smear it along the sides of the pot, cover the pot for 2 minutes then mix it into the caramelizing onions.
- Add the palm oil and okra to the mixture, stir and cover your pot. Let the okra cook on medium/low for 30-40 minutes. Check (every 5 -10 min) to make sure the sauce isn’t drying out or sticking. if it dries out – starts burning on the bottom – add water in 1/2 cup increments.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR RICE
- Bring 4 cups of water and 2 cups of rice to a boil
- Add 6 cloves and reduce heat to low and cover the lid for about 15 minutes.
- Spoon rice over the okra sauce and garnish as desired.